Wednesday, August 5th 2009

Today I showed Char around Te Uki Ou School and felt very proud walking around. I am so comfortable there that tomorrow will be a difficult day. Today was my first day back without Iris and it made for a weird day. I expected her gentleness or soft smile throughout the day. My body has adapted to the school routine, morning tea 10-10:30, lunch 12-1 and hop on the bus at 2. The familiar smiling faces of the kids and the beautiful sea background to their playground are scenes that I hope to remember forever. Kids running around barefoot, semmingly without a care in the world. They make me wonder why I worry so much.

Today a boy read a story to me about a tadpole that worried so much as he’s undergoing transformations into a frog. Once he became a frog he realized all of his worrying was unnecessary. The night before I came to Rarotonga I cried myself to sleep, worrying and scared I wouldn’t make any friends or have a great time and the first day here I realized how ridiculous that was. As I am growing up to be a big frog the best thing I can do is stay positive and not worry.

I have made a major, life altering decision today. I cannot leave this island. I have developed a list of things I can do in order to stay here.
1. Live at the empty, half completed Hilton.
2. Continue to volunteer until broke.
3. Become a consultant to hotels and help their online sites.
4. Bamboozle Nan into letting me stay here
5. Build a bed and breakfast on the sea
6. (Last option) Marry a local fella

Now all these options are just dreams. That is what Rarotonga is to me, a dream that I never want to wake up from. Surely the mountains are too green to be real, the sea too blue and glassy and gorgeous. The people are far too kind and friendly and welcoming they must be plastic. And yet I know I feel more alive here that I ever have before. In some ways I can’t wait to go home and share the love warmth, compassion and kindness I have found here. That way the dream never has to end.

This year has been a difficult one for me. I lost two friends that I’ve basically grown up with. After their deaths I’ve learned to appreciate everyday since it could be your last. I’ve also learned to always appreciate people and learn as much as you can from them. Everybody has something to teach you, its up to you to learn. I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned from you and wish to take with me on my journey from a tadpole to a frog.

Pat I’d like to take your wisdom along with me. I’d like Doreen’s bubbliness, Rick’s sense of adventure, Iris’s gentleness, Alora’s compassion and Lisa’s incredible kindness to everyone. I’d like to have more dedication that you can see Margaret puts into everything. I’d love to have Karlee’s spunk and Lauren’s awesome strength. I’ll always have Kelli’s laughter and Becca’s ability to ignore any bruises or setbacks she might have. I’d like to have the kind of perseverance Jill has and Wendy’s amazing determination and independence. Most of all I’d like to always remember to build my heart like Char’s as she has a great heart. As we prepare to say goodbye and go our separate ways I know that the memories made here in Rarotonga will last a lifetime.

Kendra Tilbury

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